Welcome witches and warlocks,
Knowing this movie was about Bigfoot, I was a bit surprised when our story began with a couple under the strain of spending Thanksgiving with family. Nothing about the opening spoke of the usual camping trip or cryptid search that usually accompanies a sasquatch film. Instead, the focus is on Annie bringing her boyfriend home for the first time and exposing him to some sides of her he has never seen.
This subversion of my expectations actually made me more interested in this feature. I spent the first half hour or so genuinely engaged with the two characters and how they would navigate Annie’s past versus her present. Apart from a sentence or two, this battle was navigated with very little exposition which left the burden on the actors’ shoulders. In lesser hands this could have quickly fallen apart, but the two leads managed to say a lot without speaking a word.
The supporting players prove a bit more chatty and archetypal than the leads which can lend either annoyance or levity (depending upon which of them is being focused upon). From this group, Jed is the real standout as his humor and innocence make him the heart of the movie. He stole nearly every scene he was in, whether he is trying to distinguish himself from the stereotypical Southerners of “Deliverance” or rambling on about Bigfoot.
With our scenario firmly in place and the players all in attendance, we finally set out to find a sasquatch. This portion of the film proves to be more character study than Bigfoot hunting as each of the cast form tenuous alliances with each other and reveal hidden secrets. For the most part this deepens the characters, but Paul ends up feeling short shifted as he comes off like a jerk with no real background story to explain his actions. At times he was so bad that I just wanted him to die before we even saw the hinted at sasquatch.
The Bigfoot itself is one of the few creatures that looked better during the daylight than at night. The scenes of him in the dark made the sasquatch look fake and, like the Patterson-Gimlin Film, more akin to a man in a monkey suit. During the daylight, when all the finer features could be seen, I really respected the design of our well known cryptid. They even managed to tap into some of the traditional Bigfoot lore and used the concept of the forest bride to set up the final showdown.
The ending, much like the beginning, had a real southern flavor with banjos and acoustic guitars forming the basis of our score. The middle suffered from a more traditional horror score that never proved quite as compelling as what came before or after. In many ways, this synced up with my thoughts on the film as a whole since I thought the inconsistent middle was sandwiched between two compelling bookends.
All in all this was a fun little movie that used the creature and characters to make some memorable moments.
-The Creeping Craig